Thanks to libraries, Brown for program

Published 10:27 pm Friday, September 6, 2019

To the editor:

 Thank you for recognizing the important work of local librarian Jennifer Brown recently.

Without school meal programs during the summer, many children struggle to get enough to eat, but in Suffolk, hundreds of students were able to benefit from summer meal programs over the past few months. Because of this regular access to quality nutrition, these students are better prepared for a successful academic year.

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Much of this momentum is due to the often-unheralded efforts of local summer meal champions like Jennifer, the Youth and Family Services Manager for Suffolk Public Library. Jennifer recruited community partners like five local churches to help staff the library’s summer meals program as well as teen volunteers to engage the students in fun activities. In recognition of her efforts to keep local students well read and well fed, Jennifer was one of 13 Virginians to be named to the No Kid Hungry Summer Hero Hall of Fame.

Only 15 percent of Virginia students who rely on school lunch programs have access to free meals during the summer, a consequence that can have long-term impact on a child’s health and learning ability. Given the critical importance of summer meals, Jennifer and Suffolk Public Library team should be congratulated for their commitment to helping the region’s children access critical meals while school is out.

 Sarah Steely

No Kid Hungry Virginia Senior Program Manager